Friday, November 28, 2008

overcast #43

In this third and final podcast recorded in New York during the Machinima Film Festival weekend, Ricky and Phil discuss at length the whole notion of being an “amateur” filmmaker, what that means, and why it’s not a bad thing.

overcast #043 (download)

Friday, November 21, 2008

overcast #42

In this second of three New York episodes, Ricky and Phil and their guest Ben Grussi venture to the Flagship Diner in Queens, NY and continue the conversation on the Machinima Film Festival 2008 while eating a hearty breakfast, letting the copyrighted music wash over them like acid rain. Acid rain that Phil, about as observant as he ever is before 11 A.M., failed to notice until the episode was nearly complete. Nice one, Phil. You need Ex-Lax for moves that smooth.

overcast #042 (download)

Friday, November 14, 2008

overcast #41

Phil and Ricky crash out in their hotel room in Jamaica, Queens, New York City the day after the Machinima Film Festival 2008 and have an informal chat with the unofficial yet undisputed machinima historian, Ben Grussi, and reflect on the experiences of the weekend.

This is the first of three episodes recorded in New York during that inspiring and thought-provoking weekend.

overcast #041 (download)

Friday, November 7, 2008

LionHead’s The Movies Online Exits Stage Right

After three years, almost two million visitors and over a years worth of unique movies posted (that’s 33 025 270 seconds), Lionhead Studios feels it’s time for the final curtain to come down on The Movies Online.

The number of new movies posted and traffic visiting the site has dropped to a level that means it is no longer viable to keep the site operating. Therefore the site will shut down on 5th December 2008. With specialist sites such as The Movies Underground and, Lionhead believes that the diehard movie maker will still be able to find many other outlets to display their work – as well as being able to upload to sites such as MSN video.

In announcing the closure of the site Mark Webley Lionhead’s Development Director, who headed up The Movies team said “The Movies Online has shown how much creativity and originality there is amongst gamesplayers. The Movies helped create movies like The French Democracy which attracted world-wide media attention. But three years on, would-be film makers now have many more outlets for their creativity which also attract a wider audience. So we have taken the difficult decision to close The Movies Online. We’d like to thank everyone who has posted a movie or visited the site over the past three years”.

Note that Lionhead has kept The Movies forums open. And it has links to download a number of movies in its ‘Hall of Fame’ library. If you’re willing to install Microsoft’s Silverlight, you can view about a quarter of the posters that were uploaded by users during The Movies heyday (I wasn’t really, but when I tried, the install malfunctioned - ugh).

Possibly the most famous machinima created with The Movies was French Democracy in 2005.

<br/><a href="" target="_new" title="French Democracy Machinima">Video: French Democracy Machinima</a>

“…French machinima-maker Koulamata [Alex Chan] tells the story of three young men in Paris who end up taking part in the recent riots. All three suffer different kinds of indignities at the hands of French society, triggering their decisions to fight back; the movie is very clearly on the side of the rioters. Whether or not one accepts the political perspective of Koulamata, he has done something truly remarkable: he has taken computer game characters and told a story with clear social relevance…” (source:

Allen Varney of The Escapist wrote a very interesting article about French Democracy, just its content, but also about the questions it raises about art and copyright.

Saturday, November 1, 2008 Launches at the Machinima 2008 Festival in NYC

So, here I am at the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology in New York City to launch and liveblog the Academy of Machinima Arts & Science’s Machinima Festival 2008. Currently listening to Paul Marino give a “Machinima 101” overview about the history and current state of Machinima. I missed the “Welcome” by the Academy’s Friedrich Kirschner and Liz Slagus, Eyebeam’s Head of Education and Public Programming, but I’ll try catch up with them later when I get to the event podcasting and videoblogging.